Leslie Jordan may not quite be an A-list star in show business, but he’s definitely established himself as a fan-favorite. You may have first watched him as Lonnie Garr in Hearts Afire, per IMDb, or you might have adored seeing him pop up as Beverly Leslie on Will & Grace. He’s also played multiple characters in the American Horror Story series, which allowed him to both thrill fans with his signature charm and display a surprisingly chilling side of himself. Frankly, whatever role he’s taking on, he always seems to infuse it with his own personal style and that’s certainly a hit with fans.
That’s why, as Variety noted, “[i]f Leslie Jordan didn’t exist we’d have to invent him, this irrepressible, garrulous Chattanooga pixie who got through a Southern Baptist childhood and stirrings of Gay Lib and lived triumphantly to tell the tale.” Fortunately for fans, Jordan does indeed exist, and there happen to be a few intriguing untold truths about this particular star.
Leslie Jordan has always lived out loud as a gay man
Leslie Jordan knows who he is and what his strengths are. According to Savannah Now, the comedian has always been “tiny and openly gay” at 4 feet 11 inches tall, and he “began using humor early in life as a defense against bullies.” Indeed, he’s apparently known for saying, “I fell out of the womb and landed in my mama’s high heels.” While you might wonder if Jordan being gay caused issues with “his conservative Baptist parents,” it turns out that they offered him “surprising support,” the outlet reported. Frankly, when he was young and asked for a certain Christmas present, his soldier dad gifted him “the prettiest bride doll you ever saw,” he said.
As an adult, Jordan says that his life in California in the ’80s involved bars, which were the only places “to see other gay people and meet other gay people,” he told Philadelphia Gay News. However, the star — who got the opportunity to act as the grand marshal of the Capital Pride Parade in 2016 — has seen how things have changed. He explained, “Now I think, ‘My gosh, we have everything. We have choirs. And we have gay camping. We have gay this, we have gay that.’ There’s a lot of ways, plus the internet, where you can meet people.”
Granted, that’s far from the only way that Jordan’s life has changed over the years.
Leslie Jordan was once a jockey
There are stars who work regular jobs on top of their well-known professional roles. When it comes to Leslie Jordan, he’s someone who had an arguably unusual job, though one that isn’t so surprising when you consider his shorter stature. Before he was a popular actor, the star enjoyed “a brief career as a jockey,” according to his website.
“I heard about a horse farm down below Atlanta where they bred racehorses in Cartersville. It was owned by a Southern belle who had married an Argentinian horse farmer,” Jordan told Savannah Now. “I spent summers in New York and winters at the Hialeah Race Track in Miami.” However, Jordan had to give up competitive riding in a professional manner when he was nearly 27 due to the fact that his health suffered as he attempted to force his body into a required form. “I dieted so strenuously, I had to go to the hospital for infectious hepatitis,” he said.
When Jordan had to abandon being a jockey, he returned to school. “I was going to be a journalist,” he said of his second career choice. But he also recalled, “Everyone said to take Introduction to Theater, that it was an easy course.” Luckily for Jordan, it was also an introduction to his time in the spotlight.
He's had problems with drugs and alcohol
Leslie Jordan may seem like a happy-go-lucky kind of guy, but that doesn’t mean that he hasn’t experienced dark times. In fact, he once dealt with serious addiction issues involving drugs and alcohol.
“In college, I loved to take diet pills to study. We’d pass out what we called trucker speed or black beauties,” he told Isthmus. He also noted, “And then within the gay community, all of a sudden everybody was doing little bumps of crystal meth, which has such a horrible name now. Back then it was called Tina.” He explained that he would do “a little bump on the dance floor,” which would make him “just want to go home and relax.” However, Jordan eventually found himself in trouble with the law due to his “substance abuse” problems when he was arrested for drunk driving, according to the Los Angeles Times. Because of that, he even ended up in jail with none other than Robert Downey Jr. who has faced his own issues with drugs.
Fortunately for Jordan, he told Isthmus that he “got sober at 42,” which “took a lot of work,” but was surely worth it as he now says, “I’m so content with my life. Everything is gravy.” Frankly, things got even better for the onscreen celebrity when he became an online superstar.
This actor is an Instagram sensation
If you ever need a boost, then you should definitely consider following Leslie Jordan on Instagram. That’s because he’s wildly entertaining on the platform. CNN notes that he shares “everything from how he’s trying to survive staying at home” during the pandemic “to stories about his interactions with fellow celebs.” In fact, his IG is so much fun, that the star who once had around 100,000 followers saw a massive boost during the pandemic when “his quirky posts went viral,” per Canada.com.
While that kind of popularity on social media is the kind of thing that many celebrities desperately try to achieve, Jordan wasn’t really expecting it. According to Philadelphia Gay News, when he found out about his viral success, the star initially misunderstood, saying he was fine and hadn’t contracted the virus.
With more than 5.6 million followers as of writing, Jordan is getting a kick out of the situation, saying, “I don’t know why that is or how that happened, but I think people were looking for just some laughter.” He added, “I had three rules that I realized I had and didn’t know I had: nothing about religion, nothing about politics, and no products. I’m kind of wanting to rethink that ‘no products’ part. Ha!” That may not totally be a joke as it turns out that the star could use some extra income.
Leslie Jordan isn't as rich as you might think
Leslie Jordan may be a well-known figure in the entertainment industry, as he’s both an accomplished actor and a social media sensation; however, there’s one thing that he’s not: ultra-wealthy. When Philadelphia Gay News pointed out that “[p]eople think that you’re rich,” Jordan revealed, “I’m not. Listen, she works hard for the money!”
Indeed, while the star is not destitute, he’s also not super-duper well-off. According to Celebrity Net Worth, he has a relatively humble (by show business standards, at least) $1.5 million in funds and assets.
Jordan explained the somewhat inaccurate perception about his financial status by saying that he thinks that perhaps people think that he’s “achieved everything.” He also noted, “I sit here (now) so comfortable with myself, with who I am and what I am. And that’s a wonderful place to be. So everything from here on out is just gravy. It really is just living life one day at a time and having a really good time.” And isn’t truly enjoying your life absolutely priceless?
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